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TOEFL Exam: A Guide to Success

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TOEFL Exam: A Guide to Success

  Posted By: 25 January 2024

TOEFL Exam: A Guide to Success

If you want to study or immigrate to an English-speaking country, then you must fulfill an important prerequisite which is scoring well on an English language proficiency test. Among the most prolific English language proficiency tests, the TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is extremely popular and widely accepted in different countries.

The main objective of TOEFL is to evaluate the English language mastery of the candidate using a comprehensive and analytical process that includes speaking, reading, listening, and writing. In this article, we will discuss all the necessary things you need to know about TOEFL and how to prepare for TOEFL?

Overview of TOEFL Exam

Exam name


Purpose of exam

English language proficiency level test


Test of English as a Foreign Language

Accepted countries

UK, US, Canada, Australia, etc.

Conducting body

Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Mode of exam

Internet-based (iBT)

Examination level



Reading, writing, listening, and speaking

Exam fee

TOEFL iBT fee: $185 (INR 13,652)

Score range

Reading: 0–30

Listening: 0–30

Speaking: 0–30

Writing: 0–30


Around 3 hours and 30 minutes

Official website


TOEFL helpline



TOEFL test centers

4500 across the world


What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is an English proficiency level exam that gets conducted by the ETS or Educational Testing Service (which is a non-profit organization). The result of this test or exam gets accepted extensively in more than 150 countries worldwide. Also, more than 11,000 academic establishments and universities spread across different regions such as Australia, Europe, Asia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States accept TOEFL.

Previously, there used to be a total of two types of TOEFL tests: TOEFL PBT and TOEFL iBT. TOEFL PBT used to be a paper-based test and this test was conducted in places where the internet was not available. On the other hand, TOEFL iBT is a computer-based exam that gets conducted with the help of the internet.

From 11th April 2021, the TOEFL applicants can give exams using two different iBT formats i.e., TOEFL iBT home edition and TOEFL iBT computer-based format.

About TOEFL iBT home edition

With the help of the TOEFL iBT home edition, you will be able to appear for the TOEFL exam from your home or your comfort zone. You need to remember the following important details regarding the TOEFL iBT home edition before you start TOEFL exam preparation:

  • Except for Iran and Mainland China, all the other countries that accept TOEFL results offer the TOEFL iBT home edition exam.
  • The test is available 4 days a week and 24 hours a day. If you have completed your registration, then you can take the examination immediately after 24 hours.
  • You can take the TOEFL iBT home edition test from home using your own computer, and the test gets monitored through ProctorU with the help of a human examiner.

Eligibility Criteria of TOEFL

If anyone wants to appear for the TOEFL exam, then he/she must fulfill the Eligibility criteria of TOEFL (specific conditions) mentioned below:

  • The applicant must have passed his/her 10 + 2 qualification exam from an acknowledged Indian board.
  • There is no specific age limit for the candidates who want to appear for the TOEFL exam.

How to register for TOEFL

You can register for the TOEFL exam using three different modes. Let us have a look at them below:

Online registration

One of the most convenient modes of registration is online as the facilities remain open 24*7 but the seats must be booked about 7 days prior to the final date of the examination.

Telephonic registration

Aspiring applicants have the alternative option of booking slots over a phone call. The official TOEFL phone number for aspirants in India is 91-124-4147700.

In-mail registration

Applicants who find it difficult to register through telephonic or online methods can select the in-mail method of registration. This involves a series of simple steps starting from downloading the TOEFL examination form available on the official TOEFL website https://www.ets.org/toefl.

Total duration and TOEFL test pattern

In order to test your fluency, this test is categorized into four separate sections that you will have to complete within 3 to 4 hours of time. The pattern for this test is elaborated in the table below:

TOEFL test section


Total number of questions


41 to 57 minutes

28 to 39


54 to 72 minutes

30 to 40


10 minutes



50 minutes

2 tasks


17 minutes

4 tasks


Question pattern of TOEFL

The TOEFL iBT exam is conducted based on the applicant’s reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities. Let us discuss each of them categorically below:


The reading part of the TOEFL evaluates the applicant’s reaction to difficult words, various narratives, complex sentence structures, motive, and mood of the author along with various other elements.

The reading section of the TOEFL examination has a total of three question formats. The formats are:

  • Normal multiple-choice questions that have four options and only one of them is a correct answer.
  • Another type of multiple-choice question where you need to insert a sentence in order to complete it. In this case, the candidate will be given four options from which he/she will be required to choose the best option that will complete the sentence.
  • The last type of question in the reading section will have more than four options along with multiple correct answers. Each and every passage will have this type of question at least once.


With the help of the speaking test, the evaluator will be able to find out if the candidate is able to speak and understand the English language comfortably in a real-life conversation as well as at a class level. The test gets conducted online, and the question format of this section is mentioned below:

  • Independent speaking task

In this task, the speaker will be questioned to express his/her personal opinion, ideas, and experiences. The questionnaire comprises introductory questions such as how the applicant will introduce himself/herself, what is his/her speaking style, how his/her attitude will be, and likewise.

  • Integrated speaking task

Integrated speaking is entirely different from the above because it amalgamates two different skills of English such as listening and reading. The question for this task can be derived from any academic course or a campus situation.


The listening part of the TOEFL test comprehensively analyses the applicant’s ability to comprehend spoken English. Through this test, the TOEFL test evaluator can find out what will be your response in an academic environment where the presentations and discussions entail multiple information, the intention of the speaker, convoluted sentence structures, etc.

Depending upon the lectures and discussions, the applicant can face multiple types of questions which include:

  • Normal multiple-choice questions with four different options and a single right answer among the given options.
  • Multiple-choice questions that have multiple answers as well as more than four options provided in the questionnaire.
  • Different ordering question that instructs the candidates to organize the provided events according to their occurrence in the provided lecture recordings.
  • Matching question in which the applicant will have to complement the relevant phrases, texts, and objects with the respective categories.


Through this section, the applicant’s ability to form arguments, phrase ideas, create a connection between provided information, compare ideas, make a conclusion, etc. gets analyzed. The information on two different types of tasks for the writing test of TOEFL is mentioned below:

  • Integrated writing task

In this test, the applicants will have to listen to a 20 minutes recording and also have to read a passage of at least 230 to 300 words. Depending on their understanding of both recording and passage, they will need to establish a connection between the same. For this test, there are no exact or perfect answers, and you also need to remember that note-taking is not allowed.

  • Independent writing task

In this task, a topic will be provided to the candidate, and he/she will write down his/her opinion on the respective topic. The evaluator will assess the grammatical performance, sentence construction, detailing, how organized the writing is, and the writer’s ability to support his/her claim with due evidence, conclusion, etc.

Are TOEFL iBT examinees eligible for a break?

Understanding the importance of recess timing in between stressful examinations, the TOEFL administrators have made a 10-minute break mandatory for everyone, and they must leave the examination room for a breath of fresh air outside.

TOEFL iBT test scores criteria

Range of TOEFL score (0 to 30)

Level of expertise according to the score


Advanced (24 – 30)

high-intermediate (18 – 23)

Low-intermediate (4 – 17)

Below Low-intermediate (0 – 3)


Advanced (22 – 30)

high-intermediate (17 – 21)

Low-intermediate (9 – 16)

Below Low-intermediate (0 – 8)


Advanced (25 – 30)

high-intermediate (20 – 24)

Low-intermediate (16 – 19)

Basic (10 – 15)

Below basic (0 – 9)


Advanced (24 – 30)

high-intermediate (17 – 23)

Low-intermediate (13 – 16)

Basic (7 – 12)

Below basic (0 – 6)




Calculation of TOEFL test scores

In the online TOEFL iBT test score system, the result is four-scaled, accompanied by a total score. ETS offers around 4 to 5 competence levels for every skill in order to make your exam experience deeply personalized and facilitate a better score per your capabilities.

Score of TOEFL iBT

Expertise level

0 - 31

Extremely limited / Non-English user

32 - 34

Limited user

35 - 41

Modest user

42 - 59

Modest user

60 - 78

Competent user

79 - 93

Competent user

94 - 101

Good user

102 - 109

Good user

110 - 114

Very good user

115 - 117

Very good user

118 - 120

Expert user


Available TOEFL test centers

A total of 4500 TOEFL-approved examination centers are located across 165 countries. In India, aspirants can request for test centers in 59 cities based on their proximity and convenience.

Some of the most popular test centers are New Delhi, Indore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Gandhinagar, Jabalpur, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Cochin, Madurai, and Mumbai.

Key takeaways

  • TOEFL is a highly renowned English language proficiency test accepted globally by top colleges and institutions.
  • The TOEFL exam assesses a candidate’s analytical and comprehensive abilities.
  • The test is divided into four sections, including reading, listening, writing, and speaking, each with a different score range.
  • You need to complete your 10+2 qualification from an Indian board-acknowledged school to be eligible to sit for TOEFL.
  • There are multiple resources available to prepare for the TOEFL exam that come with sample question papers to help you familiarize yourself with the exam pattern.

Reach out to SIEC for TOEFL Guidance, Coaching and Assistance.

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